When it comes to crafting authentic neapolitan-style pizza at home, one essential tool to have alongside an outdoor or indoor pizza oven is an infrared thermometer.
“Temperature is important,” says Jae Eun Jung, a chef at the Culinary Institute of America and owner of KJUN. “Launching your pizza a few degrees off 750 – 800°F can result in a soggy base or burnt crust.”
While there are different types of thermometers available, Infrared thermometers are ideal for measuring the temperature of pizza stone or baking steel.
However not all Infrared thermometers are accurate. So I decided to put 20 different models to the test, and I found six infrared thermometers that proved accurate, reliable and consistently hit the sweet spot temperatures for baking impeccably crispy pizzas.
🥇Best Infrared Thermometer For Pizza Oven
- Best For Accuracy: [Gozney Infrared Thermometer]
- Editor’s Pick: [Ooni Infrared Thermometer]
- BEST FOR VALUE: [luke 62 Max Industrial]
- NEW Laser targeting technology: [Cuisinart CSG-625 Infrared Surface Thermometer]
🤔Why Buy An Infrared Thermometer for Pizza Oven?
Here are a few benefits of including an infrared thermometer in your pizza-making arsenal:
As mentioned earlier, this device measures the surface temperature of a pizza stone or baking steel, removing any guesswork. While some electric pizza ovens allow you to set the preferred cooking temperature, with a wood-fired or gas pizza oven controlling the cooking temperature can be more challenging without a thermometer.
Chef Kenta Nakano at Le Cordon Bleu says, “This type of thermometer is not suitable for measuring the ambient temperature inside a pizza oven, but understanding the heat map of the pizza stone ensures you throw in your pie at the right spot and temperature.”
Easy and quick to use
Infrared thermometers are contactless models and offer instant temperature readings, which makes them relatively easier and quicker to use for baking pizzas. Also, these nifty devices come with a sizable display showing the temperature of the stone in either degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius, contributing to its user-friendliness.
Safe to use
Pizza ovens can reach temperatures of 800 – 1000°F, posing a safety risk if approached closely. An infrared thermometer or temperature gun becomes invaluable for taking temperature readings of the stone from a safe distance, ensuring safety while obtaining accurate measurements.
👩💼How Does An Infrared Thermometer Work For Cooking?
Employing advanced optics, this device utilizes a lens to capture and focus infrared light emitted by the cooking surface, such as a pizza stone. The collected infrared radiation is then directed onto a thermopile, a crucial component converting thermal signatures into an electric signal.
Subsequently, this electrical energy is translated into a precise temperature reading, showcased in either Celsius or Fahrenheit on the digital interface.
This entire process takes less than a second, providing home chefs with instant temperature readings for precise cooking.
And according to Indranil Bhattacharya, an electrical and computer engineering associate professor at Tennessee Tech University “Every object emits infrared lights, although imperceptible to your naked eyes, we tend to feel the energy as heat. Only objects below the absolute zero i.e. −459.7°F, can’t be measured with an infrared thermometer, as they do not emit infrared energy.”
🧪How Accurate Is An Infrared Thermometer Gun?
Infrared thermometers provide accurate temperature readings of cooking surfaces under the right conditions. But it’s hard to achieve ideal conditions in real-world scenarios.
The correctness of an infrared thermometer depends on too many factors, from emissivity to distance. Also, if there’s dust, smoke, or steam in the pizza oven, it might interfere with the device’s accuracy.
Chef Kenta Nakano advises pizza enthusiasts to view measurements from these devices as a comparative gauge rather than absolute precision due to these potential interferences.
📰The Criteria: What to Look for In The Best Infrared Thermometer for Cooking?
The size of the target area a thermometer can measure from a particular distance is denoted as a distance-to-spot ratio or optical resolution. Among the models I tested, most featured an optical resolution of 12:1. This implies that the thermometer can accurately and safely measure the temperature of a one-inch surface area from 12 inches away from the cooking surface.
Indranil Bhattacharya clarifies, “The laser is just a guide to the spot being measured and not an indication of the true size being measured.” Some models boast a distance-to-spot ratio of up to 30:1, enabling measurement of the same area as a 12:1 model while being held twice as far.
One observed advantage of a higher ratio is its ability to prevent the infrared thermometer from becoming excessively hot (as the lens absorbs emitted infrared energy), thereby avoiding skewed measurements when reading from a scorching hot pizza stone.
Infrared thermometers equipped with a wide emissivity range enable temperature readings from various surfaces. If you intend to use the tool for measuring the temperature of a pizza stone, baking steel, and proofing dough’s skin, opt for one with adjustable emissivity.
When measuring diverse surface temperatures, adjusting the emissivity is crucial for more accurate readings. Most models I tested for this review came with a preset emissivity of 0.95 and a good range of 0.1 – 1.0.
However, I couldn’t find the exact emissivity for a pizza stone made of cordierite. I settled on 0.95, which is suitable for organic surfaces like food, sand, and water, as advised by Indranil Bhattacharya. He mentioned that using an infrared thermometer with 0.95 emissivity can still achieve precise readings with an accuracy of ±15°F, providing valuable information for precision cooking.
The essence of including an infrared thermometer in your culinary toolkit is to accurately measure or, at the very least, gauge the temperature of a baking surface.
Precision is crucial for achieving the perfect crisp and delightful char marks on the crust, making devices with an accuracy level within ±1.5°F the optimal choice.
In cases where manufacturers express accuracy as a percentage, seek devices falling within the range of 1.50 to 2%.
As mentioned earlier, infrared thermometers employ laser technology to identify the area under measurement precisely. Through testing, I discovered that models featuring two red dots or bullseye-shaped laser beams performed better than those with a single red dot in terms of visualization and accurate temperature reading.
Indranil Bhattacharya pointed out, “Since you’ll be a couple of feet away from the pizza oven, a single red laser dot can be hard to see on your pizza stone. On many occasions, I ended up measuring the back or left area of the pizza stone instead of the center.”
Another crucial but often overlooked factor when selecting an infrared thermometer is its response time.
In high-temperature pizza ovens such as the Ooni Koda 16, which reaches 900°F in 15 minutes, a slow response time can lead to surpassing your desired cooking temperature by 50 – 100°F, creating challenging cooking conditions.
It is advisable to invest in an infrared thermometer with a sub-500 millisecond response time for real-time and accurate results.
⭐Best Infrared Thermometer For Pizza Oven
1. Ooni Infrared Thermometer
Taking the top spot is the Ooni Infrared Thermometer. And this decision has nothing to do with the fact that it’s from a world-class brand. It has a large display screen, wide temperature range, sturdy plastic construction with cutting-edge ergonomic design, and Advanced Laser Guide Technology, earning it the top place.
If the best-infrared thermometer for a pizza oven has to be convenient, accurate, and withstand being mistakenly dropped, then this product is a clear winner.
Ooni designed this temperature gun to be a one-time purchase for you. It is suitable for you, either a stay-at-home cook, an enthused pizza maker, or a professional baker. You can use it on any cooking appliance: smoker, grill, or pizza oven. So, there’s no point in buying more thermometer guns when this one works best in many conditions.
This device remains one of the best-selling temperature guns. And the reasons are not far-fetched.
The crystal-clear backlit screen is a wonderful feature; the Ooni flaunts it with pride. It’s not just about offering an easy view of the temperature readings. It comes in handy when you are still cooking late in the day. And the best part of the display is it offers the temps in both degrees F and C. No more time-wasting conversions!
Here’s another exciting thing;
This tool has a wide temperature range, from -32°C / -25.6°F to 600°C / 1112°F. This gun might be the missing piece to consistently knocking out crispy, even golden-brown pizzas. Before launching the dough, use this thermometer to measure the oven base’s temp for precise cooking. You no longer have to eyeball the oven’s temperature and take a bet with your pizza dough. Finally, start baking the EXTRA crispy crust with utmost confidence.
That’s not all;
This nifty device is super light, which makes it the perfect choice for an on-the-go cooking experience. Easy to hold and takes almost no space.
The manufacturer comes with 2AAA batteries to start using this awesome temp gun at once. According to thousands of customers, the ultra-modern laser guide is super helpful. It helps pinpoint the area measured for ZERO mistakes.
The only downside is its relatively expensive price point. Why not pay more for a product that offers peace of mind? Be my guest if you want to try your luck with those cheap guns and their inconsistencies.
2. Gozney Infrared Thermometer
The Gozney Infrared Thermometer is the most aesthetically appealing option on this list. It’s hard to dismiss its beautiful dark green and black color combination. This attractive product features the finest soft-touch material for very comfortable handling.
It’s not just about its awesome eye-catching design. This unit is user-friendly, precise, and efficient for everyone – whether you are a home chef or pitmaster.
This leading manufacturer, Gozney, integrated this temp gun with groundbreaking Laser technology for precise cooking. Also, it was one of the most straightforward thermometers I’ve ever used. It took an instant, the accurate temperature reading of my cast iron pan, ensuring it was hot enough to sear a steak for a tender, juicy result.
Not only that;
Its broad temp range from -58°F to 1022°F allows you to read from any object or surface. This is precisely what I look for in a thermometer to help bake wood-flavored, crispy thin-crust pizza that requires heating up to 1000°F.
Like other high-end models, this dazzling device has a dedicated oC/off button to switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius. So, it takes out tedious math conversion and lets you focus on following the recipe to the letter.
Also, I love its LED screen. While it’s not bigger than others on this list, it has a blue backlight. It is gentler on your eyes than bright white light for a super easy reading experience.
If you’ve to take several temperature measurements during a cooking session, the Gozney Infrared Thermometer is perfect. It supports taking continuous temperature readings to avoid wasting your time. Also, you can hold the temp reading, so you don’t have to memorize or second-guess your readings.
A 9V battery powers this sturdy temp gun. However, the manufacturer did not include how to install the battery, which some customers complained was tricky. Luckily, you can follow any of the guides online.
Talking of batteries;
This beauteous laser thermometer sports an automatic 15-second shutoff feature to extend the battery’s life. The best bit? There’s no power ON/OFF button for the most incredible one-hand temperature measurement experience.
So, if you hate those familiar yellow or dull blue laser thermometers, this product looks drop-dead gorgeous! Well, you can choose to have a device like everyone or stand out with the premium Gozney Infrared Thermometer.
3. Fluke 62 Max Industrial Infrared Thermometer
The Fluke 62 Max is the best heavy-duty thermometer for cooking enthusiasts and DIYers. It checks nearly all boxes: excellent temp range, fastest response time, adjustable emissivity, and ideal 10:1 distance-to-spot ratio. And, of course, it doesn’t come cheap like the Ooni model. Yet, it still punches beyond its weight, thanks to its many unrivaled features.
This product has the widest application on this list. It is suitable for measuring temperature in hard-to-reach areas, electrical wiring, HVAC systems, and sweltering-hot pizza ovens. The Fluke 62 Max will surprise you, whether for industrial use or baking purposes. Remember, it’s NOT a medical thermometer.
This product has a broad temperature range of -22 to 932 degrees F. It’s a bit shorter than the Ooni model. However, it’s more than enough to support its multipurpose functionality. Also, its systems offer almost INSTANT temperature readings with a fast response time of less than 500ms. Take your pizza oven’s temperature and start baking crispy crust immediately – ZERO time wasted!
Fast, okay; accuracy?
The Fluke 62 Max boasts an unparalleled accuracy of ± 1.5%. This tool perfectly measures your pizza and the oven’s temp. Remember, the hush-hush tip for making great pizza is baking at the “right” temperature. This is the device to take your pizza-baking game to the NEXT level; if that’s what you are looking for.
Plus, this temperature gun features an adjustable emissivity between 0.1 – 1. Now, you have a tool that works outside the kitchen. You can easily take temperature readings of any surface.
Need to know where the heat from your car is coming from? Take out the Fluke 62 Max!
Here’s the best part;
It has a distance-to-spot ratio of a whooping 10:1. At last; it is a measuring tool that always lets you stay at a SAFE distance and take “accurate” temp readings. You no longer have to risk scalding your skin for temperature measurement ever again!
Any PREMIUM features?
This best IR thermometer for pizza ovens comes with a superior IP54 rating. This means it’s highly resistant to water splash and dust. Thus, guaranteeing that this device survives in almost any environment. Besides, it’s indestructible up to a scary 3-meter height—one less tool to worry about.
Well, you don’t have to take my word for it. There are thousands of pleased customers with happy reviews, including me. If that’s not enough, then there’s a generous warranty. The manufacturer promises to be responsible if ANYTHING goes wrong in the first THREE years.
4. Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 1022D
The Etekcity 1022D is from one of the best brands in this space. But does it live up to hype and reputation? If fast response time, high accuracy temp readings, and advanced Dual Laser Targeting technology counts, then YES.
This product is a close rival to the heavy-duty Fluke 62 Max without the hefty price tag. This model offers a wide temperature range, from -58 to 1022 degrees F. Its LCD displays the temperature reading in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. So, you don’t have to be a math genius to use this device.
Equipped with a Low Battery Indicator and Auto-Off Function, this product has the longest battery life. My only concern is the LCD; it sometimes fades, especially under bright conditions.
Etekcity 1022D screams top-tier engineering. Its Nex-Gen Dual Laser Target technology helps pinpoint the exact surface being measured. Thus, you get higher precision compared to the single laser models.
Slow thermometers are sometimes the reason your pizza gets burnt. So, purchase the Etekcity 1022D for instant temperature reading.
Another hallmark of this temperature gun is its quick response time of about 500 ms, which means no more slow temperature results or burnt pizza.
Like the Fluke 62 Max, this model has an adjustable emissivity option: 0.1 – 1.0. Hence, it makes it very easy to read the temperatures of different materials accurately. It can be something other than a pizza thermometer. However, it’s not meant to be used on humans.
Talking of accuracy;
This device is just a little behind. It has an accuracy of ±2 degrees C, a few degrees shy of the Fluke 62 Max. But this model takes the lead when it comes to the distance-to-spot ratio. It allows you to take “safe and accurate” measurements by staying up to 36 cm away from the hot object.
If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a thermometer, then the top-chefs-pick Etekcity 1022D is your best bet.
5. Cuisinart CSG-625 Infrared Surface Thermometer
Do you want a standby outdoor cooking temperature gun? A thermometer that works for anything, from a pellet smoker to a pizza oven? The Cuisinart CSG-625 is second to none, and it’s fast becoming the top choice for every pit master and pizzaiolo.
Unlike other products with a vast temperature range, the Cuisinart CSG-625 has a maximum temperature of 716 degrees F. However, it’s more than enough to squeeze, point and measure your cooking temperatures. There’s no delay or lag with its response rate. It delivers temp results with lightning speed.
Similarly, this product comes with easily adjustable emissivity in the same range. Thus, allowing you to use a wide range of appliances and materials. This way, you can know if the pizza oven is cold enough to touch or carry.
This product is not up to par with the Etekcity 1022D, despite being in the same price range. Its temp reading varies by ±4 degrees C/F. This isn’t a terrible deal breaker if you don’t need high precision.
Best of it all:
Its NEW Laser targeting technology is many users’ favorite feature. It makes measuring and monitoring your food a breeze. You don’t have to get too close or bear the heat radiating from the appliance anymore.
6. Klein Tools IR5 Dual Laser 12:1 Infrared Thermometer
For twice the price of the Ooni IR thermometer, snag this professional temperature gun with an auto-scan, High/Low alarm, and ADVANCED dual-laser targeting technology.
But let’s start with its stunning Optical Resolution of 12:1. This model permits you to stay out of the danger zones while taking measurements. This is one thermometer you can allow your kids to use to join you in the cooking process. And, of course, under your supervision.
It’s super easy to use for anyone, thanks to its newly improved Dual Laser Targeting technology. This device shoots two lasers at different spots on the hot surface and measures the area’s temperature.
That’s NOT the best part;
This product comes with an Auto Hold function. This feature eliminates the need to memorize or second-guess. Also, the LCD has a backlit function like others. It makes it effortless to read during low-light conditions.
However, the manufacturer equips this thermometer with an auto power-off function. So, you won’t be replacing the battery (included) in years to come.
Talking of battery life;
With backlit on, this best-in-class gun lasts up to 10 hours of continuous use. This is one of the longest battery life ever! The only annoying thing is some customers complain about the battery arriving dead. But it’s one 9-volt battery, so you can always purchase a replacement from the nearest store.
Not just that, it’s nearly as durable and rugged as the tough-to-break Ooni IR thermometer. Its robust plastic construction offers superior drop protection to 6.6 feet. You won’t be purchasing a new thermometer if it mistakenly drops. And this happens more often than you think.
What if it falls and breaks? Fret Not! The manufacturer will be responsible for the damage if it happens within the first year of receipt. This is the second-best deal after the Fluke 62 Max.
🤷♀️How To Use An Infrared Thermometer Gun for Pizza Oven?
Infrared thermometer guns are simple to use. It’s more of a point-and-measure operation. Also, they come with a digital display to pop up the resulting temperature. Some models even feature Laser Technology making it super easy to aim and take accurate readings.
When using a temperature gun, you will notice that the oven’s surface temperature is not uniform. This tool helps you identify the hot and cold spots. Thus, you can easily determine where the pizza should go.
However, there are things you should put into consideration when taking temperature readings:
- Distance: as said earlier, there’s a recommended distance between the object and the sensor. If you keep the detector at a distance beyond the ideal ratio, your reading will be off. In short, keep the sensor as close as possible to the distance-to-spot ratio.
- Angle: the right way to measure is by placing the device’s sensor at 90 degrees to the hot surface. Else, the accuracy suffers, and your cooking result might be depressing.
- Reflection: most bakers often ignore this important factor when taking their reading. Some heated surfaces give off infrared radiation, which alters your reading.
So, to solve this, the latest product features a “spot size” setting. This function localized the area being measured. Thus, the device measures only a small portion of the object. The reflected IR radiation will have little to no influence on your reading.
💬Thermometer for Pizza Oven Related FAQ
Are all infrared thermometers the same?
They are not created equal. They share a lot of features, designs, technologies, etc. Notwithstanding, most no-contact temperature guns come with a screen and a sensor to take your reading for a distance.
Some models might require getting the sensor to touch the object to read the temperature. So, there’s no one-size-fits-all infrared thermometer if that’s what you are asking.
What is the difference between infrared and laser?
There are only a handful of genuine laser thermometers. Most products labeled “laser” temperature guns do not use laser technology to measure temperature.
Instead, they use infrared technology to read the temperature and laser to improve your aim. Laser thermometers are more suitable for high-precision jobs like surgery.
Are infrared thermometers safe?
If used correctly, there should be no cause for alarm. IR thermometers should not be pointed at the body and face, especially if it’s not medical-grade ones. Most importantly, avoid looking at the infrared beam directly.
The best IR thermometer to buy hinges on several factors, which I’ve explained in detail in the buying guide section. However, the most important ones include your needs, budget, and essential features.
Choosing the right one should be easy. I’ve revealed the top 5 infrared thermometers for pizza ovens. Now, it’s up to you to make an informed decision.
Nonetheless, I’m confident that any of the products will make you happy with extra crispy pizza crusts. They are all convenient, durable, and accurate, and they take safety seriously.
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